What would I tell you that a quarterback who was a Super Bowl MVP (twice) coming off a season in which he threw for 4,410 yards and 30 touchdown passes was looking for a new contract with his team. You’d probably think that quarterback should get a pretty substantial pay check, right?
Well that quarterback is Eli Manning and the New York Giants are his team. Manning is looking for a big contract that could possibly make him the highest paid player in the NFL. This may sound ridiculous but Manning actually has more poker chips on his side of the table than you’d think. Look at the quarterback contracts that have been in the news this summer.
You see the quarterback market is one where an NFL franchise cannot really win. The team needs a franchise quarterback. There aren’t enough franchise quarterbacks to go around. Even the marginally good quarterbacks get paid like great quarterbacks because it is hard to find a franchise quarterback.
Phillip Rivers, who entered the NFL in the same draft class as Manning (and was the other half of the historic trade that brought Manning to New York) just got a huge pay day. Rivers has put up some incredible statistics but he hasn’t gotten his team to a Super Bowl championship. Rivers got an $84 million deal with $65 million guaranteed.
Cam Newton, who most people would consider a tier below Rivers, got almost $120 million from the Carolina Panthers. Ryan Tannehill signed a $96 million deal with the Miami Dolphins who haven’t really accomplished anything in the postseason.
The market value for Manning is exorbitant. Nobody is arguing that he is the best quarterback in the NFL. But when the good get good money and the very good get great money… the two time Super Bowl MVP gets astronomical money. It is about market value. The contracts will get to a point where the system will have to change, but until then they aren’t getting any smaller.
The good news for the Giants is that there is precedent for these deals being made in a way that doesn’t cripple the team. It isn’t like Manning is going to get the massive contract in one payment. It will be broken down in affordable pieces in the first couple of seasons and it will be restructured at some point.
The real number that Manning needs to look out for is the guaranteed portion of the contract. Manning has nothing to worry about. He is going to get paid very well.